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Results of the EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints: seabed habitats

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This presentation gives an overview of the results of the EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints (Arctic, Atlantic, Baltic, Black Sea, MedSea & North Sea) related to seabed habitats. The presentation was given by Jan-Bart Calewaert, head of the EMODnet Secretariat, at the EMODnet Sea-Basin Checkpoints Stakeholder Conference held on the 14-15 February 2017 in Brussels.

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Results of the EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints: seabed habitats

  1. 1. EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints Results Habitats 1 http://www.emodnet.eu/ EMODnet Stakeholder Conference & Sea-basin Workshops 14-15 February 2017 Habitats theme Jan-Bart Calewaert EMODnet Secretariat On behalf of all Checkpoints
  2. 2. EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints Results Habitats 2 Habitats? Ecological or environmental area where abiotic and biotic conditions allow particular species of animal, plant or other type of organism to live. Not a biotope! geographic area with uniform environmental conditions where certain biological communities live Habitat information is important for sustainable management of the environment, including human activities Habitat types classification – e.g. EU nature information system (EUNIS) habitat maps Seabed Habitat maps serve many purposes design of ecologically coherent Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks species distribution modelling establishing monitoring programmes for seabed habitats developing sensitivity maps & informing maritime spatial planning (MSP) indispensable for MS to fulfil obligations under MSFD where full coverage of seabed predominant habitats of all European seas is required.
  3. 3. EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints Results Habitats 2 Habitats? Ecological or environmental area where abiotic and biotic conditions allow particular species of animal, plant or other type of organism to live. Not a biotope! geographic area with uniform environmental conditions where certain biological communities live Habitat information is important for sustainable management of the environment, including human activities Habitat types classification – e.g. EU nature information system (EUNIS) habitat maps Seabed Habitat maps serve many purposes design of ecologically coherent Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks species distribution modelling establishing monitoring programmes for seabed habitats developing sensitivity maps & informing maritime spatial planning (MSP) indispensable for MS to fulfil obligations under MSFD where full coverage of seabed predominant habitats of all European seas is required.
  4. 4. EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints Results Habitats 4 Checkpoints Results - General Which checkpoints challenges require habitats data and maps most? Marine Protected Areas - coherence Windfarm siting – sensitive habitats at target locations? Oil platform spill likely hood that sensitive habitats (coastal or other) would be affected Fisheries impact extent of fisheries impact on the sea floor EMODnet provides a pan-European broadscale habitat map covering all sea-basins Arctic: Some habitat information for specific Arctic parts of the Northeast Atlantic are available via different European initiatives, e.g. EUNIS and MAREANO project
  5. 5. EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints Results Habitats 5 Checkpoints Results – General (2) Atlantic: We need better availability of habitat-related sample point data: except for UK Marine recorder UK and Irish waters, such data are difficult or impossible to access elsewhere. Lack of habitat maps giving full biological detail (i.e. maps from surveys), even in the coastal zone. EMODnet broadscale map provides full coverage but with insufficient thematic resolution. Many deep sea offshore habitats are under-studied and poorly inventoried. lack of consistent, region-wide surveys of biological data on marine species across taxa and trophic groups. especially the abyssal plain is under-represented, with available biological data being more restricted to surface or shallow water regions in and around coastal areas
  6. 6. EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints Results Habitats 6 Checkpoints Results – General (3) Black Sea availability of data/info on habitat extent is only “partly adequate” in terms of data delivery mechanisms, easy to find, INSPIRE services and pricing, and “not adequate “ in terms of responsiveness. Mediterranean For habitat characterization and habitat extent input datasets (e.g. Posidonia oceanica, Coralligenous and Maerl habitats) availability of datasets are “not adequate” in terms of pricing, data delivery mechanisms and responsiveness. appropriateness if the datasets is “partly adequate” TO “not adequate” – in particular temporal coverage as well as vertical coverage, horizontal and temporal validity are “not adequate”.
  7. 7. EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints Results Habitats 7 Assessing fisheries impact Arctic habitat information could be obtained from various sources: e.g. working groups within the Arctic Council provide some kind of information on important areas within the Arctic area. Due to privacy issues high-spatial resolution data on fishing impact is not readily available for general use. Specific organisations that were addressed to identify accessible data did not reply. Coding of the presented unit of effort data is not always clear, making it not possible to use the data. Information on fishing impact is scarce and mostly on low-spatial level resolution it was not possible to generate an overall overview of fishing impact in the Arctic area.
  8. 8. EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints Results Habitats 8 Fisheries impact (2) Atlantic comprehensive/recent datasets on bottom fishing effort and intensity are a series of maps generated in 2016 by the ICES Working Group on Spatial Fisheries Data (WGSFD) from VMS data coupled with log book data. Maps cover the OSPAR area from 2009 onwards and their resolution 0.05 degrees (~5 km). To assess fisheries impact on seabed habitats, this resolution is significantly lower than that of the broadscale habitat maps provided by the EMODnet Seabed Habitat lot (250m). Quality assurance is non-existent and this needs to be rectified. Baltic Fisheries data (VMS-data) are spatially and temporally restricted, they are only available at a scale of grid-cell size of approx. 10 km x 5km for the years 2009-2013 yearly. For fishery impact assessment, species data are considered available and adequate, but variable in quality, e.g., variable prediction confidence in modelled data and substantial extrapolations due to lack of ecological data in some areas.
  9. 9. EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints Results Habitats 9 Assessing fisheries impact (3) Mediterranean VMS maps only cover EU MS but data is not available for some countries and only partially available for other MS. Time series do not always cover the same period in the different countries. Greatest limitation: incomplete spatial and temporal coverage of the data sets. As a result the change of the level of disturbance of trawling on the seabed could only be calculated on a short time period. AIS data have higher spatial coverage than VMS data (incl. also non-EU vessels) while in available time period there are no data for a part of the fishing fleets (obligations were gradually extended over the years) they allow to get a more spatial complete coverage of the overall Mediterranean basin compared to VMS.

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